At the whisky festival in Gent, a lot of attention went to the new Undercover bottlings of The Nectar. Although the distillery names are undisclosed, some hints on the labels (and extra hints from Mario) make it pretty easy to guess…
Undercover n°1 – Lagavulin 14y 1994
(53,1%, Daily Dram 2008, 196 btl.)
Typical Lagavulin, big and punchy, a tad farmy, whiffs of sea air. Really smokey. An instant classic, better than other independent Lagavulin bottlings. It will cost around € 100 though, which I think is a little pricey compared to a standard 16y or the recent 1995 release for Friends of Classic Malts (both around half the price). Is this Laga twice as good?
Undercover n°2 – Talisker 24y 1984
(51,9%, Daily Dram 2008, 82 btl.)
Very fruity, with a great, peppery attack and a lingering finish. Some lemons, maybe less smokey than most official bottlings (or was this the influence of the other Undercovers which I nosed / tasted simultaneously?). Really good. I had the feeling this one deserved better conditions to taste it properly. Hopefully some other time. Again, not cheap: € 150.
Undercover n°3 – Ardbeg / Laphroaig / Bowmore 15y vatting (57,5%, Daily Dram 2008, 320 btl.)
This is a vatting of 3 Islay malts (according to new laws, we should say ‘blended malt’ now instead of ‘vatted malt’). You can easily tell that the main part is Ardbeg. Lots of peat smoke, quite dry. Some acid notes (lemon). Good balance and very powerful. A vatting which brings out the typical flavours of the ingredients. Price: around € 75.
What can I say? Quality-wise: excellent bottlings, only positive feedback and thumbs up for buying casks from distilleries which are a bit harder to find in independent bottlings. I just fear that they may be a little over-priced. Financial crisis, you know… I hope this is not a permanent evolution in the Daily Dram series.